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Lawmakers plan ways make Michigan roads safer

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Lawmakers in Lansing want to make Michigan roads safer.

Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, hopes to wrap up bills to make bicyclists safer on the roads soon. Legislation is working its way through the Legislature that would require vehicles give bicyclists three feet of room when they pass.

“Each week I open the news and it seems like another bicyclist has been hit by a motorist,” she said.

O’Brien said she thinks the bill will head to the governor’s desk soon. So now she wants to focus on distracted driving. O’Brien introduced legislation back in November that would increase penalties for distracted driving.

Another bill, sponsored by Senator David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, and co-sponsored by O’Brien, would update the law to specify that drivers cannot use internet-based devices like computers and tablets while driving. Texting or reading on your cell phone while driving is already banned.

“So that type of technology that we have, our laws just haven’t been updated for,” O’Brien said. “So I’m gonna work to learn the concerns and hopefully we can make amendments that address it and make it across the finish line.”

This post has been updated to clarify that reading and texting on a cell phone while driving (not talking) is against the law.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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